Do You Need a Lawyer for a Will?

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Drafting a will can be a complicated process, which may require legal assistance. In some cases, it’s possible to make a will on your own, using a variety of templates available online.

However, if you don’t have a straightforward financial situation, you may need legal advice. Before creating a will, it may be a good idea to consult a lawyer.

In any case, drafting a will is always a good decision, especially if you have substantial assets. This can save your family a lot of time and money in the future.

To be recognized legally, your will has to be:

  • Clear and unambiguous
  • Signed by the will-maker
  • Signed by at least two witnesses, 18 or older

Additionally, you’ll have to name an executor of your will. Otherwise, your beneficiaries would need to proceed to court for probate.

Before signing a will, you need to check state laws. According to probate lawyer in Orlando, different states have different requirements for what the will should contain and how it should be formatted.

Situations in which you may not need a lawyer

If you have a clear idea of how your assets will be distributed, you may not need a lawyer. However, legal assistance may be necessary in the following situations:

  • You are planning to disinherit your spouse or children.
  • You have a large estate involving trusts.
  • Your financial situation isn’t straightforward.
  • You aren’t sure how to distribute your assets.
  • You aren’t sure you can create a valid will without assistance.
  • You don’t have time or opportunity to study state laws to make sure your will complies.

Many people choose to create a will on their own since the costs of legal advice may be high. The problem with a DIY will is that wording has to be extremely clear for the court to consider it valid. In case the will lacks clarity, potential beneficiaries can contest it, leading to a long probate process.

Signing a will without legal assistance

If you believe that you don’t need a lawyer, the steps to signing a will would be:

  • Find a template.
  • Make a list of your current assets.
  • Be specific about which assets go to which beneficiaries. You have to be as clear as possible.
  • Choose a guardian for minor children if any.
  • Plan for care (name a guardian) of your pets, if any.
  • Name a residuary beneficiary.
  • Describe funeral preferences if any.
  • Print the will out and sign it yourself and ask two witnesses older than 18 to sign it.

Make sure to keep the will in a safe place. The will’s executor should know where you keep your will. If you decide to get legal assistance, you can leave a copy of your will in the lawyer’s hands.

The takeaway

While it’s possible to create a will without a lawyer, it’s still better to get legal advice. In case you make a mistake creating the will, your relatives could have a tough time getting it enforced. Eventually, your assets may not be distributed as you planned.